Primary school pupils not gaining from ‘combined class’ system, says group

Kwan examining the termite-infested state of the school. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

EDUCATION Ministry has been urged to stop the “combined class” system as it is not benefitting primary schoolchildren.

Perak Chinese Assembly Hall deputy president Datuk Kwan Foh Kwai said the pupils’ learning time had been limited as they were being taught by the same teacher.

“The teacher has only 30 minutes for each subject and they have to split the time to teach pupils from different standards.

“How much can they learn? I do not think this is fair to them,” he said during a visit to SJKC Changkat Kinding in Tanjung Rambutan, near Ipoh.

He said it was also a problem because some pupils might need more attention than others.

“We are not against government policies but we are all for better education and a conducive learning environment,” he added.

Under the system that started last year, a class with fewer than 30 students will be merged with another class from a different standard in one room.

Kwan pointed out that it was also a burden to the teachers.

“I understand that they have to come up with their own materials based on the existing syllabus, to teach the pupils from two different years.

“It is an added pressure for the teachers as they are required to complete the syllabus,” he noted.

On a separate matter, he hoped that parents from suburban areas would send their children to nearby schools instead of those in the city centre.

“I am aware that parents prefer to send their children to schools like SJKC Sam Tet or SJKC Ave Maria Convent located in the city.

“I believe schools near their home have better and conducive learning environment with fewer pupils in a class.

“They also get more attention compared to schools in the city,” he said.

“I have noticed that pupils in suburban areas are happier as they do not face peer pressure.

“In my personal opinion, a child should learn in the primary years, it should not be all about acing their examinations,” he added.

Kwan said the association would visit all Chinese schools in the state to understand and draw attention to their respective issues.

“Major Chinese associations, especially those with financial clout, should support these schools.

“If they can adopt some schools, it would help the schoolchildren with their education,” he said.

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